Lower the Bar
Kobalt Music/Universal Music Australia
Reviewed By Simon Milburn
It would be reasonable to be a little worried about Steel Panther. Have they peaked already? Could they hit new highs? Or perhaps, that should be new lows? More than likely, the answer is a little of all of those really. By now, fanthers know what to expect from the group who are the modern day epitome of 80’s L.A. glam rock excess and then some. For those who have been living under a rock for the past decade, a quick perusal of the band’s song titles should give you a bit of an idea of what to expect. Perhaps though, even after that, no one can be truly prepared for the fun, crass, and utterly entertaining tunes that Steel Panther have an unbelievable knack at crafting.
Perhaps it’s rather ironic that their latest album is dubbed Lower the Bar. Looking over the band’s history, with song titles like “Asian Hooker”, “Eatin’ Ain’t Cheatin’”, “17 Girls in a Row”, “Let Me Cum In”, “Glory Hole”, “Gangbang at the Old Folks Home”, you’d almost wonder if it were possible to Steel Panther to do as their latest album title suggests. Well, they manage do not only do that lyrically whilst at the same time, ensuring the songs are musically catchy and easy to listen to.
Album number four under the Steel Panther banner is slyly titled Lower the Bar and it has hit the shelves a two-in-the-pink + one-in-the-stink years after the excellent All You Can Eat. It kicks off instantly with the excellent “Goin’ in the Backdoor”, a true rocker of a tune with a title that leaves very little to the imagination and lyrics that extinguish any last remnants of doubt as to what Steel Panther are all about. It certainly sets the standard for the rest of the album but really no-one should be surprised at the level that the bar is set at.
The one thing that Steel Panther have always managed to do is write songs that are chock full of catchy, easy to listen to riffs that build to infectious sing along choruses that are altogether wrapped up in some great dynamics. Across their various albums to date there are countless examples of this and Lower the Bar is no exception to this standard. Steel Panther are doing here just as they have always done. Like it, love it, or loathe it, Steel Panther clearly give zero fucks just as they have always done. There are plenty of tracks here that will fit effortlessly into a Steel Panther live set that will garner the same ol’ typical response from the audience. Quite simply, Steel Panther have nailed it once again.
Well, mostly. Truth be told, the unambiguously titled “She’s Tight” doesn’t quite feel like a Panther song. Sure on first sight, the title strikes you as a Panther song, and lyrically, it fits the mould as well. But musically, it feels out of place not only on this album but within the whole spectrum of Steel Panther cuts. Maybe I’m just being picky because I’m a reviewer and I’m jaded and need to find something to criticise. I don’t know. Even with a guest appearance by the one and only Robin Zander (Cheap Trick), it’s still not enough to save this track in the eyes of this humble reviewer. It feels like a B side more so than an album closer especially when it’s put butt up against the totally rockin’ David Lee Roth soundin’ “Walk of Shame”.
So where does this album fit within the grand scheme of Steel Panther releases? That’s tough. Does it stand out any more than the others? Probably not. Is it the worst thing they’ve done? Also, probably not. Just like All You Can Eat, the latest album Lower the Bar is another excellent entry point into the depraved (a.k.a fun) world of Steel Panther. The bar hasn’t necessarily been lowered or raised with album number five. It’s more like a consistent pole that the band dances around in any number of ways they like. Chalk this up as another notch on the belt for Steel Panther as they deliver another absolutely entertaining album and that isn’t a bad thing at all.
More from Steel Panther
- All You Can Eat [review]